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SBI orders forensic audit of Jet Airways' books from April 2014: Sources

The airline has been struggling to keep afloat following three consecutive quarterly losses of over Rs 10 billion each

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

Jet Airways
Jet Airways

Country's largest lender (SBI) has ordered a forensic audit of Jet Airways' books, which has been grappling with financial woes for many months, for the period between April 2014 and March 2018, according to sources in the bank.

The State Bank, which is the lead banker to the airlines' over Rs 80 billion loans, has mandated EY to conduct the forensic audit of its books, which has already began the process, the sources added.

The has been struggling to keep afloat following three consecutive quarterly losses of over Rs 10 billion each.

The bank's action comes at a time when the Naresh Goyal-promoted is in talks with potential investors to raising funds to tide over the liquidity crisis.

"...it was decided to conduct a forensic audit of the accounts of for the period April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2018," sources said.

When contacted, an spokesperson declined comments saying, "it's the policy of the bank not to comment on individual accounts."

Emails sent for confirmation from the and EY also did not elicit immediate responses.

The audit was ordered following a complaint of alleged financial irregularities in accounts by a whistle blower, the sources said.

"The forensic audit has been mandated to E&Y LLP and the firm has already started the process," the sources said.

In August, government had ordered an inspection of books and papers of the airline. The outcome of the probe, however, is awaited.

ALSO READ: Jet Airways' survival may rest on founder Goyal leaving the cockpit

Besides, there were also reports about alleged siphoning of funds to the tune of Rs 50 billion by the promoter Goyal.

With three back-to-back quarterly losses and a net debt of Rs 80.52 billion as of September 2018, the airline is working on ways to raise funds and reduce costs. The cash crunch has been so bad that it has paying salaries in tranches for months now.

Last month, chief executive officer Vinay Dube had said the airline was in active discussions with various investors to secure sustainable financing.

ALSO READ: Jet Airways announces codeshare pact with Saudi budget carrier Flynas

The Mumbai-based airline in which Ethihad Airways also owns 24 per cent, is negotiating a deal with the Gulf carrier to offload another 25 per cent holding, to mop up funds.

Last month, there were talks that the Tatas were interested in buying out the Goyals from the airline and merge it its airline Vistara. But a board meeting of Tata Sons in mid-November had said the group was only at preliminary.

First Published: Fri, December 14 2018. 18:20 IST
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